We know relatively little about dreams. But that doesn’t mean we can’t put them to good use.
— Lame old writing website
Joy and peace, Camper, and welcome to Your Uncle Jerry’s Creative Writing Workshop.
From time to time, if you think you’re a writer, you need to wake up in the night and scribble whatever random stuff is on your mind. This is mandatory.
Write what you’ve dreamed, say the tips-and-tricks crowd; keep a dream journal.
Which is about the dumbest advice Uncle Jerry has ever heard. Despite what the nice doctor says every week. For Uncle Jerry, being awake is about leaving dreams behind. Ha.
But yes, do it, by all means. Switch on a light, Camper, and jot your deepest thoughts while you're cross and groggy as hell. When you read it in the morning, you'll get a wake-up call of a different kind.
Dream: Conversation at 3 a.m.
INNER PARSON: You okay? You’re coughing again. You haven't slept in weeks.
INNER PIRATE: It’s trees or grass or whatever. Time of year.
INNER PARSON: Your mother died early, remember. It could be fibrosis like she had. Or cancer. What if it's cancer?
INNER PIRATE: I just need a drink.
INNER PARSON: You shouldn’t have smoked that cigar with Stephen. You guys think you're still teenagers.
INNER PIRATE: Pollen. It’s pollen. I’ll just make a toddy and take a decongestant.
INNER PARSON: You can’t take a decongestant with whiskey! Are you suicidal?
INNER PIRATE: Pirate . . .
INNER PARSON: I wish you wouldn’t drink so much. You could be allergic to sulfites.
INNER PIRATE: There are no sulfites in hooch.
INNER PARSON: You had wine last night—a lot of wine.
INNER PIRATE: Go to sleep.
INNER PARSON: Or it could be the gluten in hooch. You need to give up drinking.
INNER PIRATE: . . . . . .
INNER PARSON: Wait. What if you have asthma? Hmm? Your father has asthma.
INNER PIRATE: Of course I have asthma. I was raised on woodsmoke and sawdust. I slept under army blankets and animal hides. You can’t blame me for that.
INNER PARSON: You don’t know that for sure . . . about the asthma. You should get yourself checked.
INNER PIRATE: I had a colonoscopy last winter.
INNER PARSON: Oh, har har.
INNER PIRATE: At my age, an exam is an exam.
INNER PARSON: And dead is as old as you get. . . .
INNER PIRATE: Fine with me.
INNER PARSON: Come on. You have plenty to live for. What makes you happy? What keeps you interested in writing? Or music, or living?
INNER PIRATE: Schadenfreude, mostly.
INNER PARSON: You’re an idiot.
INNER PIRATE: We are birthed over the grave. Light gleams an instant, then all is darkness once again.
INNER PARSON: So you can quote Beckett. Big deal. Tell me one of your nihilistic Dad Jokes.
INNER PIRATE: Here’s one: [cough cough].
INNER PARSON: You're a whiner. Listen. You know that your mother stopped singing in her 60s. She said it was allergies, too.
INNER PIRATE: She was lying. She knew it was fibrosis.
INNER PARSON: The coughing stopped her singing. Is that what you want—just when you’re starting to learn jazz? You want to waste Cole Porter? Or Hoagy Carmichael?
INNER PIRATE: Arrrgh. . . .
INNER PARSON: Well, do you? You want to miss all the whining in "Everything happens to me"?
INNER PIRATE: . . . Chet Baker sings like he has allergies.
INNER PARSON: Ha. True that.
INNER PIRATE: . . . Fine, I’ll make an appointment.
INNER PARSON: There you go.
INNER PIRATE: But they won’t find anything.
INNER PARSON: That would be good. It would cheer you up. Hey, here’s a joke: What did the judge say to the pirate?
INNER PIRATE: “Your sentence is life.”
INNER PARSON: Hahaha! That’s my favorite.
INNER PIRATE: We are so effin' doomed.
INNER PARSON: You’re not wrong. . . . Hey, pour me one of those.